NHTSA — Fuel/Propulsion System Problems

2004 Subaru Forester (Page 2 of 2)

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hardly worth mentioning
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
113,427 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2004 Subaru Forester fuel system problems

fuel system problem

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2004 Subaru Forester Owner Comments (Page 2 of 2)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #18

Nov 112014

Forester 4-cyl

  • 149,205 miles


Warmed up vehicle. Temp was below 31 degrees closer to low 20's. within two minutes fuel smell entered vehicle. Over come by fumes... rolled down windows. Problem took at least 15 minutes at least to get rid of smell. Very worried due to fuel being a highly combustible fluid in a hot engine.

- Littleton , CO, USA

problem #17

Nov 302012

Forester 4-cyl

  • 190,000 miles
For as long as I can remember, every time the weather gets below 40 degrees or so, the interior cabin smells like raw gasoline upon starting the car and continuing through several minutes of run time.

- St. Louis, MO, USA

problem #16

Nov 152013


  • 120,000 miles
There is a pronounced, unmistakable smell of uncombusted gasoline emanating from the engine compartment as soon as the car is started on cool or cold mornings. The fumes enter the passenger cabin through the ventilation system. It is strong enough to cause headaches and require lowering the windows until it dissipates minutes later. This is a well known, well documented problem on the internet caused by defective fuel lines under the intake manifold. Gasoline is leaking onto hot engine components.

- Salt Lake City, UT, USA

problem #15

Dec 112013


  • 49,000 miles


Upon start up in cold weather (below freezing), there is a strong smell of raw fuel in the cabin. At times it is unbearable necessitating rolling down the windows, even in sub-freezing temperatures. It looks like fuel is leaking from somewhere in the engine bay. It has happened repeatedly and I worry the fumes are dangerous for not only passengers' health, but also in case of an accident.

- Lone Tree, CO, USA

problem #14

Jan 012013


  • 129,000 miles
Strong smell of gasoline upon starting the car in very cold weather. Inside and outside the vehicle. Only happens when it is cold outside. Really gives me a headache and makes me nervous about igniting.

- Waterbury, CT, USA

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problem #13

Dec 092013


  • 179,000 miles
I've owned my 2004 Subaru for 5 years without incident, but as of December 2013, I've experienced a strong fuel smell both inside and outside of the car. The smell is overpowering while car is parked, but lessens while moving. It began after the first big drop in temperature (40 degrees to 10 degrees), and has persisted for over a week now.

- Park City, UT, USA

problem #12

Dec 102013


  • 70,000 miles


During the cold weather there is an very strong gas smell in the car. I started the car and looked under the hood and can see where gas is leaking from the fuel system. I believe it leaks in the same spot that many other people have reported.

- Roseville, MN, USA

problem #11

Jun 072013


  • 150,000 miles
It was summer when I first notice the smell of fuel through my vents and I was driving pass an gas station (shell) so I didn't think much not till the next morning as I warmed up the car I smelled pure gasoline next to the passenger fender I then pop the hood and traced it and I was lead to the turbo side of the engine seems to be coming from the fuel rail area unsure as the engine warmed up the smell faded away but now it's winter and it's bad I can see a big lost in fuel consumption full tank doesn't last a week it's driven to and from work around 4 to 12 miles a day need help!

- Merced, CA, USA

problem #10

Jan 312013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
For a period of approximately three weeks in early January 2013 my wife, daughter and I could smell what can only be described as raw gasoline when we drove our 2004 Subaru Forester xt. It would typically take less than 5 minutes after we started the engine for the smell of gas to become very strong, even overwhelming. Although it could still be sickening, the problem would improve somewhat after we drove the car for a few minutes. After we carefully refueled the car on two or three occasions we concluded that the issue definitely had nothing to do with spilled fuel or the fuel cap. We were very concerned that whether or not the situation led to a fire, we were all being made very sick by the problem. We contacted the Subaru dealer where we have our Forester serviced and dropped off the car for them to troubleshoot. We were quickly contacted and told that the issue was with the fuel system and that because the fuel lines ran under the turbocharger the repair would be very expensive (and it was). After researching the issue it quickly became apparent that this is a common problem with not only Foresters, but for other Subaru models as well. Being that this is (by any standard) a common problem arising from the design of the vehicle, that there is no option but to repair these vehicles on threat of fire or illness, that the problem does not occur due to any kind of misuse or neglect, there should be a recall made for all Subaru that experience leaking fuel systems (not just the WRX). Because the repair is so expensive, and so many of the affected vehicles lack any warranty coverage to pay for the repair, I am concerned there are many owners who will attempt the repair themselves or have the work done by technicians who are not familiar with the problem. It is my sincere hope that a safety recall is made and owners are notified before anyone is harmed.

- Vienna, VA, USA

problem #9

Mar 152013


  • 135,471 miles
Noticed a strong smell of gas while driving my 2004 Forester xs, causing headaches to myself and passengers. I brought it to my mechanic who said that there was raw gas pooling on the manifold. He said that he has seen this many times before - leaking fuel lines due to the cold (it was 12 degrees when I first noticed it). He noted that this was the worst leak he has seen. Looking at a $700 bill. I have since read many other complaints on this issue. Wondering why there has not been a recall for this obvious safety issue.

- Waitsfield, VT, USA

problem #8

Dec 052012


  • 116,000 miles


The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that there was an overpowering gasoline fuel smell inside and outside of the vehicle. The odor would become stronger when the contact was operating the vehicle at various speeds. The vehicle had not been diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the problem. The approximate failure mileage was 116,000.

- Willimantic, CT, USA

problem #7

Jan 272013


  • 83,200 miles
This is in a 2004 Subaru Forester xt (turbo). Strong smell of unburned fuel coming from engine compartment and filling passenger compartment upon startup.

- Norwich, CT, USA

problem #6

Jan 102012


  • 118,148 miles
There was a very strong gasoline smell inside the car (2004 Subaru Forester xs) that happened in cold weather during January 2012. It happened again just recently in January 2013. It was so strong it made the driver and passenger have a headache and become nauseous. Many other owners have reported the very same thing and have not been successful in getting Subaru to at least investigate. Subaru has issued a recall for the WRX model, but not for the Forester. This is a health and safety risk that should be taken care of by Subaru.

- Hamilton, NJ, USA

problem #5

Jan 212013


  • 190,000 miles
In cold temperatures, there is a strong smell of gasoline in the cabin and in the engine compartment. Fuel leaks in cold temperatures is a recurrent problem with this make/model/year as evidence by: Similar complaints in Subaru forums. Similar problems in related models.

- Warren, NJ, USA

problem #4

Jan 162013

Forester 4-cyl

  • 97,000 miles
In cold temperatures, there is a strong smell of gasoline in the cabin and in the engine compartment. Fuel is leaking but the dealer was unable to locate it when brought in on a warmer day. Fuel leaks in cold temperatures is a recurrent problem with this make/model/year as evidence by: Similar complaints in Subaru forums. Similar problems in related models (Subaru WRX) this is a danger to health and safety and a recall should be issued.

- Wheaton, IL, USA

problem #3

Nov 082010


  • 101,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that when the temperature was below 30 degrees, there was a strong gasoline smell inside the vehicle. The contact had not noticed a fuel leak. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 101,000 and the current mileage was 125,000

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #2

Dec 182012


  • 107,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Subaru Forester. The contact stated that he could smell gasoline inside the cabin of the vehicle when driving at various speeds. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection and was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified but provided no assistance. The failure mileage was 107,000.

- Camron, NC, USA

problem #1

Dec 012010

Forester 4-cyl

  • 75,000 miles
Strong fuel odor inside cabin developed when operating on cold mornings; fuel odor typically went away within 15 minutes of starting the car. Inspection of fuel lines, filter, etc. Revealed no obvious leaks above the intake manifold. Dealer quoted approximately $800 to remove intake manifold and inspect. I have had two independent shops attempt to fix this issue over the past 3 years with varying degrees of success; the most recent (2011) removed the intake manifold and replaced all rubber fuel lines under the manifold, but the problem has recurred this fall and winter and at increasingly warm temperatures. Now, there is a visible and obvious leak from a fuel line just as it goes under the manifold--inaccessible without removing the manifold. Clearly, the problem is with the design of the metal fuel rail to rubber line interface, since this is a common problem in Forester xts across several model years. Subaru of America issued a recall for this problem on the WRX, but so far has not acknowledged the problem for the Forester or Forester xt. This is a costly repair and a huge safety issue: The leaking fuel drips directly onto the engine cylinder heads and in some cases (on passenger-side fuel line leaks) is in close proximity to the turbocharger--representing a significant risk of engine fire. The fuel fumes in the cabin are also a health and safety risk which should be dealt with by Subaru.

- Faifax, VA, USA

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